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The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts is one of Australia’s leading centres for the development and presentation of contemporary art. Housed in a striking heritage building in the heart of Perth, PICA is the city’s focal point for those wishing to experience the best of Australian and international visual, performance and interdisciplinary art. Operating since 1989, PICA boasts one of the largest and most breathtaking exhibition spaces in Australia and has become known for the leading role it plays in the presentation of significant new work.

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PICA is both a producing and presenting institution that runs a year-round program of changing exhibitions, seasons in contemporary dance, theatre and performance, artistic residencies and interdisciplinary projects. The organisation’s mission is to create defining moments for artists, art forms and audiences. Its key aim is to promote, support and present contemporary arts and to stimulate discussion around the arts and broader cultural issues.

In many aspects of its operations, PICA might be understood as an incubator: providing resources, mentoring and support for both emerging and mature artists whilst promoting new and emerging ideas, forms and practices to the broader community.

PICA is an icon of contemporary thinking – it is a catalyst for innovative and ground breaking art and culture. Not constrained by convention, PICA gives artists and audiences a glimpse of what is possible.

Not constrained by convention, PICA gives artists and audiences a glimpse of what is possible.

Finding PICA

PICA is located in the Perth Cultural Centre – also home to WA Museum, State Library of Western Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, The Blue Room Theatre and the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. It is a 5 minute walk from Perth Train Station and Busport.

Alongside the gallery is the PICA Bar & Cafe where you can grab your morning coffee, lunch or evening drinks in the relaxed atmosphere of the Cultural Centre.

Opening Hours

Tues – Sun: 10am – 5pm. Note that the galleries are closed during exhibition changeover.

Latest News

Guides

Guides


On Exactitude in Science by Alan Butler

A two screen video instillation featuring a synchronised presentation of Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi (1982) & Alan Butler’s Koyaanisgtav (2017).

  • Dates:Dec 3 - 6
  • Time(s):Thursday - Saturday: 10:00am - 8:00pm Sunday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
  • Venue:PICA Performance Space
  • Festivals:XR:WA,All Festivals

Details

  • Venue Address:PICA Performance Space, 51 James St, Perth WA 6000
  • Type:Free
  • Art Exhibitions:Video
  • Produced By:PICA: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art
  • Event Venue:PICA
  • Ticket Price:Free

Description

Presented in association with XR:WA 2020

On Exactitude in Science takes its name from the Jorge Luis Borges short story, Del rigor en la ciencia (1946). This passage describes an ancient, fictional civilization that creates a 1:1 scale map of their territory. Borges, who annotated this text under a pseudonym, in fact based the work on an extract from a Lewis Carroll work first published in 1889.

Using two video screens, this installation comprises the Godfrey Reggio motion picture Koyaanisqatsi (1982), presented in synchronicity with Alan Butler’s shot-for-shot remake Koyaanisgtav (2017). The work by Reggio was chosen by Butler as a cultural artifact, and a paragon of the most popular visual media of the 20th century, film. The original motion picture does not follow a formal screenplay as such, instead embodies a poetic, pictorial mode of documentary film-making. Using Koyaanisqatsi as a screenplay itself, Butler has stunningly transposed this work into a new form using the virtual worlds within the Grand Theft Auto video game series.

Always surprising and impressive work by anyone’s standards.

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Alan Butler’s work explores material and philosophical ideas about how imagery and meaning function in technologically mediated realities. His subject often ties together the cultural dogma that underpins visual languages, with algorithmic modes of being in western capitalist societies. Educated at LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore (2009). and the National College of Art and Design, Dublin (2004).

He is a member of the collective ANNEX who will represent Ireland at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2020.

Recent activities include solo exhibitions The Need To Argue In The Master’s Language, Visual Carlow, Ireland (2018); Down and Out in Los Santos, Malmö Fotobiennal, Sweden (2017); HELIOSYNTH, Green on Red Gallery, Dublin (2017); We Were Promised Anarchy, But What We Got Was Chaos, Solstice Art Centre, Ireland (2015); and group exhibitions Open World: Video Games and Contemporary Art, The Akron Art Museum (2019); Digital Citizen: The Precarious Subject, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, UK (2019), Weird Capitalism, Transfer, New York (2018); Back to the Future, C/O Berlin (2018); SITUATIONS/Posthuman, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2018); States of Play: Roleplay Reality, FACT, Liverpool, England (2018); As Above, So Below, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2017); Les Rencontres d’Arles, France (2017).

Alan Butler’s work is in the collections of IMMA – the Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Office of Public Works, Ireland, The Arts Council of Ireland, and Trinity College Dublin. He is represented by Green on the Red Gallery, in Ireland.

MESSAGE REGARDING COVID-19
Under Phase 4 restrictions in Western Australia, each occupied space within PICA has a maximum capacity of 1 person per 2 square metres – please follow staff instructions and observe relevant signage throughout the venue confirming capacity limits. During your visit, you might be asked to queue, wait, or come back later if necessary. We thank you in advance for your co-operation and patience, and for being COVID safe and aware alongside PICA.

Songs From Patrick William Carter

A multi-disciplinary exhibition tracking explorations in narrative, gesture, dance, and collaborations with filmmakers and musicians.

  • Dates:Feb 9 - Apr 18
  • Time(s):Open Tuesdays - Sundays: 10:00am - 5:00pm
  • Venue:PICA Screen Space
  • Festivals:All Festivals,Perth Festival

Details

  • Venue Address:PICA Screen Space, 51 James St, Perth WA 6000
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Community
  • Art Exhibitions:Aboriginal,Painting,Video,Other Visual Arts
  • Produced By:Perth Festival,PICA: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art
  • Event Venue:PICA

Description

Presented in association with Perth Festival.

Noongar artist and performer Patrick Carter uses performance, video, sound, and painting to tell his stories. He first worked with The Lost Generation Project in 2007 and 2008, laying the foundations for a multi-disciplinary practice that includes elements of painting, dance, performance, and musical composition. He has developed a distinctive body of digital artworks, short films, and large-scale projects exploring the challenges he faces in life and the relationships between emotion, colour, and movement.

SONGS from Patrick William Carter collects recent works into an evocative survey of Carter’s artistic practice. It tracks explorations in narrative, gesture and dance and the development of significant collaborations with filmmakers and musicians. It also premieres a newly commissioned film in which the element of wind, the colour black and the beat of drums signal powerful acts of transformation.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Patrick Carter is a Perth-based artist and performer. He first worked with The Lost Generation Project in 2007 and 2008, laying the foundations for a multi-disciplinary practice that includes elements of painting, dance, performance, and musical composition. His works strongly reference personal memories and experiences of family and explore relationships between emotion, colour, and movement. He has exhibited consistently since 2007, participating in exhibitions at Darlington Arts Festival, Midland Junction Arts Centre, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Fremantle Art Centre, and in Adelaide’s Tarnanthi, an annual celebration of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and a flagship program of the Art Gallery of South Australia.

The Gathering

An exhibition dedicated to the act of gathering.

  • Dates:Feb 9 - Apr 18
  • Time(s):Open Tuesdays - Sundays: 10:00am - 5:00pm
  • Venue:PICA Galleries
  • Festivals:Perth Festival

Details

  • Venue Address:PICA Galleries, 51 James St, Perth WA 6000
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events
  • Art Exhibitions:Aboriginal,Painting,Photography,Sculpture,Video
  • Produced By:Perth Festival,PICA: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art
  • Event Venue:PICA

Description

Presented in association with Perth Festival.
Curated by guest curator Glenn Iseger-Pilkington.

'the gathering' is a reflection upon the act of gathering – of bringing together of peoples, words, politics, objects, images, identities, histories, dreams and concerns. In the here and now, First Peoples and People of Colour find themselves simultaneously navigating a global health crisis and a historic moment of global awareness of systemic racism and the continued oppression of communities based on race and colour. For many, this is the moment to gather, to make collective voices heard, to be highly visible, to show resilience and resistance. It is also however a moment where those actions come with unprecedented risk to our communities.

For First Peoples, the act of coming together is integral to individual and collective selfhood. In gathering, the very fabric of our identities is formed, our place in the world is determined and decisions around our futures are forged. Recent times have reminded us how important contact with each other is to our wellbeing while asking us to rethink the ways that we gather and share time and space.

While ‘the gathering’ does not seek to document the pandemic or the uprising of the anti-racism movement globally, it is a response to these events. Bringing together the voices of First Nations artists from Australia, Maori artists from Aotearoa New Zealand, and Australian South Sea Islander artists, the exhibition explores historic journeys to faraway places during the colonial adventure, the complexities of written and unwritten histories, relationships to and custodianship of cultural and physical homelands and the politics of race and belonging, historically and in the present.

Showcasing existing and newly commissioned sculpture, video, photography, painting and installation from artists Jasmine Togo-Brisby, Dean Cross, Sharyn Egan, Peggy Griffiths Madij, Yabini Kickett, Bridget Reweti, Damien Shen, and James Tylor. ‘the gathering’ is an invitation for audiences to reconsider histories, our new realities and our shared humanity, at a time when the world is united in so many ways, but increasingly divided by others.

Throughout the exhibition, there will be a number of opportunities to hear from special guests, to participate in challenging, but necessary conversations and to learn more about the histories and cultures which inform the artists’ works.

ABOUT THE GUEST CURATOR

Glenn Iseger-Pilkington is from the Nhanda and Nyoongar peoples of mid-west and south-west of Western Australia and is also a member of a Dutch and Scottish migrant family. Glenn trained as an artist and currently runs an arts consultancy where he works closely with First Nations artists and arts workers on projects and exhibitions. Prior to this Iseger-Pilkington was the inaugural Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Material Culture and Art at the South Australian Museum, where he curated ‘NGURRA: Home in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands’, a significant exhibition of art and culture from the Western Desert and also held the roles of Curator of Content Development, New Museum Project, Western Australian Museum (2014-2016) and Associate Curator of Indigenous Objects and Photographs at the Art Gallery of Western Australia (2007-2014).

 

Whale Fall

This deeply personal and poetic story is a slow burning family drama about second chances and unconditional love.

  • Dates:Feb 17 - 27
  • Time(s):Evening Shows: 7:30pm Matinée: 2:00pm
  • Venue:PICA Performance Space
  • Festivals:Perth Festival

Details

  • Venue Address:PICA Performance Space, 51 James St, Perth WA 6000
  • Ticket Price FROM:$25.00
  • Ticket price TO:$45.00
  • Performing Arts:Theatre
  • Event Venue:PICA
  • Produced By:Perth Festival,PICA: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art

Description

Written by Ian Sinclair
Produced by The Kabuki Drop
Commissioned by PICA and co-presented with Perth Festival


WORLD PREMIERE

Submerge yourself in a poetic reimagining of the classic Australian seaside drama for our cataclysmic times.

Nadine returns to her beachside home, and the family she abandoned, to reconnect with her daughter. Now oceans apart, she must navigate her ex-husband’s anger at her departure and learn to accept and support her now son Caleb, with his desire to begin medically affirming his gender.

A deeply personal and poetic story, Whale Fall is a slow-burning family drama about second chances and unconditional love, charting transition across generations, family dynamics, the human body and our ecological future.

Central to the work is the story of a dying whale as it slowly descends to the seafloor and forms a new biodiverse ecosystem known as a ‘whale fall’.

Inspired by environmental writer Rebecca Giggs’ essay of the same name, Whale Fall features rich visual language, intimate performances, and immersive design to conjure the familiarity of the Australian coast. Created by an exceptional team of WA theatre-makers, this new work brings together people from different backgrounds that identify with and support the trans, gender diverse and queer communities.

 

ABOUT THE COMPANY

The Kabuki Drop is an emergent, multiplatform arts company creating work within a variety of spaces and across art forms. They are storytellers who reinterpret theatre forms and present ideas and aesthetics for adventurous audiences. They play with and within their environments, championing artists who create immersive experiences that provoke thought, challenge norms, and encourage conversation. Formed by Melissa Cantwell in 2017, the company has presented The Average Joe (Fringeworld, 2017); Blink (Commissioned by The City of Perth Winter Arts Festival, 2017); Slap and Tickle (Fringeworld, 2018; Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2019) and The Elders Project (Fremantle Festival 2019).

PICA Summer Exhibition: Forest Of Voices

Western Australia's leading artist extends an invitation to the public to anonymously share their own stories about intimacy, touch and connection.

  • Dates:Nov 3 - Jan 10
  • Venue:PICA First Floor Gallery

Details

  • Hosted By:PICA
  • Venue Address:51 James St, Perth WA 6000
  • Ticket Price:Free
  • Type:Free
  • Art Exhibitions:Other Visual Arts
  • Event Venue:PICA
  • Produced By:PICA: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art

Description

Olga Cironis is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the murky undertones and impact that history and memory have on personal and shared identity. She examines the notions of belonging in today’s cultural globalisation — in particular, appropriated histories and accepted attitudes on belonging in the Australian cultural and social landscape.

Gathered by the artist as audio recordings and presented as a sound installation, Forest of Voices gives form to a collective archive of voices.

“Forest of Voices is about listening to the ‘other’ as fragments of private intimate conversations that play all at the same time through small, suspended speakers. There will be whisperings of desires, love, pain, loss and fear. Together with recordings of the four elements, they create a delicate chorus of voices, a sound that from a distance is similar to the wind through branches.”

 

PICA Summer Exhibition: Refracted Reality

Refracted Reality will explore the work of ten artists and collaborations whose practices frame the complexities of human nature as a vivid spectacle of truths.

  • Dates:Nov 3 - Jan 10
  • Venue:PICA Ground Floor Galleries

Details

  • Hosted By:PICA
  • Venue Address:51 James Street, Northbridge
  • Ticket Price:Free
  • Type:Free
  • Art Exhibitions:Other Visual Arts
  • Event Venue:PICA
  • Produced By:PICA: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art

Description

Curated by guest curator Anna Louise Richardson.

PICA is pleased to present the significant group show Refracted Reality, curated by Perth based curator and artist Anna Louise Richardson, as our annual PICA Salon exhibition. This year the PICA Salon offers a curated selection of responses to the window as a motif or metaphor, a physical barrier that speaks to broader concerns of duality and exchange. In this exhibition the artists’ works are the medium through which ideas pass and bend, echoing questions of privacy, representational fictions in a post-truth era and a renewed interest in both the intimacy and constrictions of interior space in the wake of mass self-isolation.

The artists make visible the chaos of the urban domestic, digital landscapes and social upheaval, but also balance this with scenes of imaginary gardens, introspective interiors and the sublime landscape. Refractive Reality seeks to create a space of shelter, inviting the viewer into intimate environments and private rituals that create a mirage of perspectives which explore alternative realities.

SMASH IT by Brook Andrew

Brook Andrew’s video 'SMASH IT' draws its title from the artist’s practice of agitating colonial archives in order to subvert and rewrite dominant narratives of the past.

  • Dates:Nov 3 - Jan 10
  • Time(s):9am-5pm Tuesday - Sunday
  • Venue:PICA Screen Space, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts

Details

  • Hosted By:PICA: Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts
  • Venue Address:PICA Screen Space, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, 51 James Street, Northbridge WA, 6003
  • Ticket Price:Free
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Free
  • Art Exhibitions:Aboriginal,Historical,Video,Other Visual Arts
  • Produced By:PICA: Perth Institute of Contemporary Art
  • Event Venue:PICA

Description

The image track of SMASH IT includes interviews, found film footage, reportage, activists’ video, ethnographic photographs, postcards and other cultural materials, drawn from both the artist’s own private collection and the collections of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC. Image, sound, and text overlap and splinter, entering into tension with one another to reveal and unravel power relations between coloniser and colonised, visible and invisible.

In its polyphony of voices and materials, SMASH IT draws attention to historical events that have occurred in different places and times and their contemporary legacies, connecting traumatic histories in Australia with international experiences and discourse. Excerpts from a series of interviews the artist conducted with First Nations leaders Marcia Langton, Wesley Enoch, Lyndon Ormond-Parker and Maxine Briggs about cultural protocols, appear alongside imagery of defaced and destroyed colonial monuments and the sounds of ?demonstrators commanding attention through shouts, declamations and chants.

Interspersed throughout is footage from Andrew’s earlier artwork The Pledge, a revised version of the 1955 melodrama Jedda, the first feature film made in Australia to use Indigenous actors as lead characters and the first shot in colour. Overlying the film’s imagery with new subtitles, Andrew rewrites the original film’s love story into a science fiction narrative to reflect on colonial violence and genocide. Ending with the Wiradjuri word ‘NGAAY’ meaning to ‘see’, SMASH IT brings colonial archives into relations with the present moment, inviting viewers to experience these images anew and to reimagine a different legacy.